A recent article is bringing attention to a longstanding problem in our criminal justice system, not just in Maryland, but nationwide – overworked, underpaid, and overwhelmed, public defenders. The problem not only undermines the integrity of the system, but threatens the constitutional rights of accused defendants, as well.
What is a Public Defender?
The constitution guarantees those convicted of a crime the right to an attorney. As you may know from TV or movies, if someone cannot afford an attorney, the state will appoint an attorney for the defendant. Those appointed attorneys are public defenders, and they are paid by the state.